Ellen Mahon, RCM
Designation(s): OLCM, RCM
Company: Crossbridge Condominium Services Ltd.
Year entered the profession: 1995
Year RCM obtained: November 6, 2003
Mentor(s) in the industry: This was a tough question to answer. I have met many people that have impressed me and those in this industry I admire. However, when thinking about the person who really influenced me, I think of Don Feggi. Don was one of my first managers, and he gave me the confidence and the freedom to get my hands dirty and learn the business. Don is no longer with us, but I think of him often and am forever grateful for his guidance, leadership, and, most importantly, friendship.
What path brought you to a career as a condominium manager? Like most of us, I came to condo management by accident. I was a new Mother looking to get back into the workforce. I had an Aunt who was a Site Administrator, and her company was looking to fill a part-time position. I had no idea what a condominium was, but I went for the interview and was offered the job. What a ride it has been, from my first day wondering what language the Superintendent spoke to me (riser, what the heck is a riser!) to my current role as the Training Manager at Crossbridge. I have been blessed by the incredible people I have met over the years. It turned out to be the perfect career for me.
How has your membership in ACMO helped you in your career? My first position as a condominium manager came with a caveat, they wanted an RCM, and that’s where it all began. To this day, I have maintained friendships that started with the courses I attended at Humber College. From meeting the perfect contractor at one of the many events sponsored by ACMO to allowing me to teach the ACMO courses in-house for many years, the benefits of belonging to ACMO have afforded me so many opportunities. They have supported me in my steady progression throughout my career.
What is one must-have skill for a condominium manager? Why? In my opinion, the one must-have skill for a condominium manager is knowing when to remain silent. Developing good listening skills is about taking in what someone is saying to you and not talking at them. It’s about showing compassion and empathy, trying to get to the root cause of the issue, and developing the right solutions. If you are the one talking, you are not listening and will not be part of the solution.
Tell us about a personal success story on the job. With 28 years under my belt, it’s hard to pick just one personal success story, so I’ll return to my first one. As I said earlier, my first job was as a Site Administrator, and I was utterly overwhelmed on my first day. To add to my jitters, the Vice-President of the Board visited me, and boy-oh-boy, was she intimidating. She made it very clear that she would have her eyes on my every move, and if I didn’t live up to her expectations, I would be gone! Looking back, I wonder how I managed to get up and come to work the next day! Step by step, over time, I was able to gain her confidence, and she became one of my biggest supporters. The personal satisfaction of turning a negative into a positive continues to drive me to this day.
What’s your biggest challenge as a manager? There are so many different challenges we see daily, but the biggest challenge in my mind is time. There never seems to be enough of it!
What’s your favourite part of the job? My favourite part of the job is that every day brings something different. I have never heard anyone in our industry say they are bored. Every new situation brings with it an opportunity for us to utilize our skills and make a direct impact on the lives of those we work for. How cool is that!
Best business advice you ever received. The best advice I ever received was to know your topic and develop a process to complete the job. I had the pleasure of working with a director obsessed with process and an avid researcher: she critiqued every email, management report, and everything I presented. Initially, I was none too happy with what I considered at the time to be micro-management. However, after working with her for several years, I became a convert.
Taking the time to understand your subject truly and then putting a plan in place to achieve a goal is the advice that resonates with me today. I can still hear her voice when I get stuck, ”What’s the process, Ellen? What are the steps we need to take?”
Answer this statement – I am an RCM because… I worked hard to achieve the designation and am very proud of this achievement. ACMO positioned the designation as a badge of excellence and commitment to the condominium industry. As an RCM, I must go above and beyond the expectations of a general licensee to maintain my designation, and I believe that RCMs will continue to be recognized as being above the crowd.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully, on a beach somewhere. I have been in the industry for 28 years and came to the industry in my early thirties, so my five-year plan is retirement!
What recent project that you completed can we highlight? As the Training Manager at Crossbridge, I am tasked with developing and delivering training material. I have just recently completed a series of tutorials that supplement our Standard Operating Procedures. These tutorials are designed to provide detailed step-by-step instructions for the many regulated forms that are now part of our daily lives. Passing along the skills and knowledge I have learned over the past 28 years has always been my way of giving back to our industry, and in my current role, I get to do this every day.